The premise at the start is somewhat interesting. Everyone managed to escape from Gwi last night, but now the operating assumption is that they only have one day before Gwi manages to locate and murder them all the following night. Much as I dislike spoilers I feel compelled to point out that this alarm ends up being a false one. No one ends up preparing for Gwi all that effectively. What's more Gwi barely even seems to care about the fact that a serious attempt was made to kill him, one that might have worked better if the king's snipers were better shots.
The big issue with "Scholar Who Walks the Night" at this point is that the drama barely even seems interested in its own story- with the exception of the parts that aren't really mysteries at all. Everybody knows that Seong-yeol is a vampire. Everybody knows that Gwi is a vampire. So why are we still in a universe where people don't seem to understand that vampires are real? What purpose is this supposed to serve?
I guess it lets all the extras act surprised the next time there's a vampiric rampage but really, I don't even care at this point. How many extras have we seen get killed at this point, hundreds? Traditional Korea doesn't have a population large enough to support that level of sheer death. At some point you'd expect people to start moving out of town because this vampire stuff is now functionally equivalent to a literal plague. Except more violent.
The good parts..? Well, Lee Yoo-bi dresses up as a man again. I can't believe I'm writing this but this is a drama that really needs more cross-dressing. Yang-seon is actually a somewhat interesting character in that her actions involve actual investigation. Not investigations that constantly fail for no reason, or investigations that succeed way too quickly. Yang-seon has to come up with actual systemic plans in order to get anywhere.
But really, overall Yang-seon is appealing right now simply because she's making a serious active effort to move the plot forward and all in a way that's different than what we've seen so far. "Scholar Who Walks the Night" seems to be running around in circles, to the point I'm beginning to wonder whether the webtoon's story was significantly shorter. I could accept this goofy undeveloped love story reasonably well early on, but the more "Scholar Who Walks the Night" calls attention to its own plotline, the more obvious the flaws are.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Scholar Who Walks the Night" Episode 13"
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